Patrols to target drunken drivers State police boosting efforts through Jan. 1


Judith Kressig has told her story to hundreds -- but it is just the kind of tale that police, paramedics and doctors don't want to hear again.

"I was drinking and driving, I didn't have my seat belt on, and I just flew through the windshield," said Kressig, 35, of Carroll County, who addressed officials at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center yesterday at the start of Maryland's Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.

Kressig was on hand to describe the consequences of drinking and driving as Col. David B. Mitchell, state police superintendent, announced patrols targeting drunken and drugged drivers that will begin tonight and continue through New Year's Day.

An additional 160 troopers will be patrolling state highways enforcing traffic laws and setting up sobriety checkpoints at random locations throughout the state, he said.

"We will stop you, cite you and, when necessary, arrest you," Mitchell said.

He said motorists who see a drunken driver can dial #77 on their car phones to be connected to the nearest barracks.

"Then when you drive by that person who has been pulled over to the side of the road, you can honk your horn and wave," he said.

Baltimore County police will start similar enforcement tactics along Belair Road tonight and continue them through tomorrownight.

Specially trained officers will be on hand to evaluate motorists who might not be drunk but are under the influence of illegal drugs, said Capt. Howard Hall of the White Marsh Precinct.

Kressig, a volunteer at Shock Trauma's Adolescent Trauma Prevention Program, was drunk Sept. 1, 1986, when she crashed her car into a fence post on Gills Fall Road in Mount Airy.

Yesterday, she held up a picture of a black circle that she described as her brain before the accident. A second picture of a half circle is what her brain looks like now, she said.

"Before the accident, I had a whole brain and no mental deficiencies," she said. "I attended Western Maryland College, and I wanted to be a famous marine biologist who swam with sharks."

Kressig's recovery was slow -- more than a year in a New Jersey rehabilitation center and months of therapy at the Chesapeake Head Injury Center in Easton.

Although she speaks, writes and remembers with difficulty, she is studying English and creative writing at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Because she can't swim with the sharks, she said, she will write about them.

"My message to everyone out there is that if they are drinking, they should pay the cab fare once instead of paying for an accident like this for the rest of their lives," she said after the news conference.

Pub Date: 12/20/96

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